Funding for a federal trade assistance program would come out of Medicare. Workers displaced by free trade agreements receive job training and other support through a program called Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA). The current proposed reauthorization of the program would be paid for through cuts to Medicare.
U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Evanston) says she doesn’t know how many Democrats plan on opposing the idea, but guesses it’s an unacceptable proposal to many members of her party in Congress.
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“There were a lot of people who initially were unaware that this was the pay for,” Schakowsky said. “I think there is definitely a groundswell of opposition to it.”
Schakowsky says she supports TAA, and would actually like to see the program expanded. Her opposition is all about the Medicare cuts, including reductions in dialysis payments to people with kidney problems. The cut would supposedly save $250 million over the next 10 years.
Another $700 million in savings would be found by extended sequestration cuts which reduce payments to Medicare providers.
Schakowsky says Medicare shouldn’t be used as an ATM by Republicans looking for ways to pay for programs.